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Events, Reviews

Back to the Future – The Musical

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Like most Mancunians, I feel there’s a lot to love about my city, but even I was surprised when it was announced that the world premiere of Back to the FutureThe Musical would open at Manchester’s Opera House. I grew up in the 80s and this is one of my all-time favourite films, so I was bowled over when my wife and daughters bought me tickets to the show for Christmas.

Before delving into the detail, let me say this: You’ve probably watched the film on VHS or TV or DVD dozens of times, but if you’re an 80s kid like me (I’m the same age as Marty McFly), sitting in the theatre watching this incredible spectacle unfold, you’ll be transported right back to the first time that you saw the film in the cinema, in the pre-multiplex era. Yes, it’s like you and the rest of the audience are in a collective time machine – the show is THAT good, and I’m pretty sure that there will be a few jaws well and truly dropped. This is entertainment on an epic scale, and I’m still buzzing the day after the show.

Of course, the key to a good adaptation – usually a book to film, but in this case film to stage – is some well-written source material featuring great characters that tell an engrossing story, and in that regard, you’d struggle to beat the Back to the Future screenplay. It helps that the film’s original writers, Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, have also written the musical. Original composer Alan Silvestri is on board with lyrics by American songwriter Glen Ballard.

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past 35 years, Back to the Future tells the story of teenager Marty McFly who, in 1985, travels back in time to 1955 in a time machine built by his scientist friend, Doc Brown. The problem is that when he gets there, Marty interacts with his mum and dad before they meet, and in doing so, the Doc tells him that he’s messed with the space-time continuum and that he and his siblings might be erased from history! Together, they hatch a plan to make sure his parents meet and to send Marty back to the future.

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The stage show is a faithful adaptation of the film, so you don’t have to worry about your childhood being spoiled. Yes, there are subtle changes here and there – there’s no Einstein the dog, Doc doesn’t do a shady deal with Libyan terrorists, Darth Vader doesn’t threaten to melt George’s brain – but the nuts and bolts of the story arc are intact, and the script covers the familiar beats of Marty’s trip to 1955 and his return to 1985. Iconic songs ‘The Power of Love’, ‘Johnny B.Goode’ and ‘Back in Time’ are bolstered by an enjoyable collection of musical numbers whose crafty lyrics play with some of the familiar classic dialogue from the film – “Hello – Is Anybody Home?” performed by Marty and his parents being an early highlight. The new songs, along with some well-placed subtle changes, gags, physical set pieces and dance routines, keep the show zipping along at a cracking pace.

There’s a lot to love about this musical, but I’m going to pick out some highlights. First off, I’ve already said that it’s a faithful adaptation of the film, and it’s great to hear the terrific cast working their way through the classic dialogue. If you’re a fan of the film and I mention just a few choice soundbites, then you’ll get the idea. “Hello? Anybody home? Think, McFly!”, “Don’t be so gullible, McFly”, “You built a time machine out of a DeLorean?” “He’s a peeping Tom!” and of course “1.21 gigawatts!”

Whilst we’re on the subject of the cast, they were all terrific. Marty (Olly Dobson), George (Hugh Coles) and Lorraine (Rosanna Hyland) looked like they’d just stepped straight off the screen. I was gobsmacked when I found out that Olly Dobson was English. Sure, any half-decent actor can do a passable American accent, but when he delivers his lines, you will believe that you’re watching Michael J.Fox up on the stage. The inflection that he put in his delivery was uncanny and the subtle touches like the constant scratching of his hair and neck add to the authenticity. Tony Award-winning actor Roger Bart was brilliant as the eccentric Doc Brown, Aidan Cutler suitably menacing as Biff Tannen and Cedric Neal, playing the parts of both Goldie Wilson and Marvin Berry, showed that he is a first-class singer as well as actor.

But for me, the aforementioned Hugh Coles as George McFly was the best of the lot. Not only did he nail the voice of Marty’s insecure father, but he also played the part to perfection physically, right down to the goofy laugh and awkward mannerisms, using every inch of his wiry frame to become George McFly.

Finally, there’s the DeLorean car. It’s a key part of the film that’s just as important as most of the cast members. Well, don’t worry because it features heavily in a production design that’s as good as any stage set that I’ve seen. I was so engrossed in the story that I wasn’t even thinking about when it would first appear and then BAM! – it spins onto the stage and out steps Doc Brown. An absolutely incredible moment that’s only a taster of things to come. Marty’s trips to the past and back to the future feature an exhilarating mix of the car moving on stage plus back projection and lighting that at times make you feel like you’re in a ride at a Disney theme park. I don’t want to give the end away, but all I’ll say is: “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads!” Doc Brown’s workshop is one of the many beautifully rendered sets, the flux capacitor features in all its glory and one of the scenes deserves a special mention. By the use of moving sets, we get to see the Doc climbing the tower and struggling to reconnect the cable as Marty simultaneously drives the DeLorean to hit its mark! How the hell did they do that? Well, it’s a brilliant set-piece, and you’ll just have to see the show to find out how they pulled it off.

Back to the Future – The Musical is a stunning success on every level. The familiar story is brought to life on stage by a superb ensemble cast and some dazzling special effects. Put simply, this is the best stage show that I’ve had the pleasure to experience, and we’ve already booked another set of tickets. Believe me, the show is THAT good. I’m so pleased that I got to see the musical on its opening run in my home city, but I’m equally delighted that the show will be moving to London’s West End because it’s an experience that should be seen by as many people as possible. Hopefully, it will also move onto Broadway and other theatres throughout the world, but before then, don’t miss it at the Manchester Opera House until 17th May.


Rob Campbell is the author of the Wardens of the Black Heart trilogy (Monkey Arkwright, Black Hearts Rising and The Well of Tears). It’s a mystery series that will appeal to fans of 80s films such as Stand By Me and The Goonies or the TV series Stranger Things, where people stumble across strange things in the woods or uncover dark secrets hidden in the abandoned places around a small town.

Reviews

Book Review – Confessions by Jaume Cabré

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Ever since I first read The Shadow of the Wind 15 years ago, I have kept an eye out for similar works. Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s epic, which spins a fantastical tale of a family bookshop in Barcelona and the mysterious Cemetery of Forgotten Books, captured my imagination like few other books before or since, so I’ve always been hopeful that lightning could strike twice with another translated book.

All of which leads me to Jaume Cabré’s Confessions, a monster of a book translated into English from its native Catalan, in 2014, by Mara Faye Lethem. Whilst family secrets stand at the heart of the narrative, plus the fact that it too is set in Barcelona, that’s where the similarities with The Shadow of the Wind end. It’s a read that is both engrossing and exhausting, so let me tell you a bit about it.

Adrià Ardevol, a professor and expert in linguistics, has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Determined to write his life story as his memory collapses around him, Adrià hands over a stack of papers to his lifelong friend, Bernat. But making sense out of the jumbled notes won’t be an easy task for Bernat because whilst Adrià had been writing a paper on the nature of evil, he then decided to write his memoirs on the back of the same sheets. Adrià’s story is framed as a letter to his love, Sara, but includes his memories of a complicated relationship with his parents, the history of his friendship with Bernat, his time studying in Germany and perhaps most significantly, the blood-stained history of a valuable violin that came into his father’s possession.

If this sounds like a complicated set-up for the story, then prepare for your mind to be well and truly boggled. Whilst the overall progression of Adrià’s story is linear, the information is sometimes presented in a random order that perhaps represents the crumbling and increasingly fragmented nature of his memory. But this non-chronological sequence pales into insignificance when compared to the author’s bold stylistic choice to interweave the history of the Lorenzo Storioni violin into Adria’s memoir.

As a reader, I am sometimes annoyed when the point-of-view character changes within a paragraph or a chapter, and I often obsesses about how character A can know this or that about character B, but I quickly had to put aside any such prejudice when reading Confessions. It’s clearly a conscious choice on Jaume Cabré’s part, and whilst the author has admitted in interviews that he sees his part as a narrator who knows the entire story and will tell the reader everything he knows at the appropriate point, the approach works well given his main protagonist’s state of mind. To give you an idea of the narrative flow, we might have two characters talking and by the end of the sentence, we are witnessing the actions of another set of characters hundreds of years before. Yes, you read that right: by the end of the sentence. Not a new chapter or a new paragraph separated by three little asterisks and a couple of carriage returns, but the same sentence! In this way, for example, we see the narrative flow from a Nazi Doctor at Auschwitz to a Spanish Inquisitor some 500 years before.

Whilst the main focus is on Adrià, Sara and Bernat, we are presented with a huge cast of characters that incorporates Adrià’s parents and teachers; his one-time girlfriend, Laura; the family maid, Little Lola; and the employees in the family antique shop. We also follow the story of Nazi doctors at Auschwitz and their attempts to evade justice (and in one case to atone for his sins) after the war, an eighteenth-century fugitive who sells the wood that is eventually used to make the violin; plus various monks and members of the Spanish inquisition.

I could go on but hopefully this will give you an idea of the scale and breadth of the novel. It took me about 25 hours to read in Kindle format, and I notice that the hardback edition is 1000 pages long! The big question is: was it worth my time and effort? I’d have to answer a resounding: YES! Whilst it was certainly a challenging read, there are so many aspects of this book that I loved.

Adrià’s story is written for his love, Sara, but I also enjoyed reading about his relationship with Bernat – a true friend in every sense of the word. The two meet as youngsters at violin classes, and we get to find out how their lives progress. I think both the love story and friendship aspects of the book are well written and carry an emotional gravity that makes this such a compelling and touching story. But just as important as Sara and Bernat is the history of the Storioni violin. The instrument is as much a character in this book as any of the human protagonists. We learn about events before, during and after its manufacture, starting in the middle-ages. It witnesses the horror of Auschwitz, the battle for its ownership during the fallout from World War II, and we discover how Adrià’s father came to own it. The violin plays a significant part in Adrià’s life, but it is not the only thing that he inherits from his father (who has his own murky past). With it comes an obsession with owning objects and obtaining precious manuscripts, and anybody who has a love of collecting books or records will understand the excitement of acquisition that the author describes so well.

Whilst the violin is the main MacGuffin, it is not the only one. There is some humour in the form of two toy soldiers (Black Eagle and Sheriff Carson) that Adrià plays with as a child, and they stay with him throughout his life, contributing little fragments to the story. I also appreciated the use of the scrap of cloth that appears several times throughout the novel and the revelation of its heart-wrenching significance adds to the humanity of the tale. I love the fact that the author chooses to highlight the significance of mementoes in people’s lives, how objects can both hold and subsequently trigger our memories, and given the fact that Adrià is so cruelly affected by Alzheimer’s, the approach fits the subject matter perfectly, adding an additional emotional layer to what is already a complex story.

Confessions is not a book for either the faint-hearted or the easily distracted. It requires patience and a willingness to just “go with the flow”, but once you become accustomed to Jaume Cabré’s unique writing style, your efforts will be rewarded in spades. The author never loses sight of the human drama at the heart of the narrative, and he brilliantly balances the revelations with moments of humour and genuine emotion. This is unlike any book I have ever read, and I’m glad that I made the effort. It has a strong emotional core and it’s themes, including what it says about the lengths that we’ll go to in order to satisfy our material needs, will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page.


Rob Campbell is the author of the Wardens of the Black Heart trilogy (Monkey Arkwright, Black Hearts Rising and The Well of Tears). It’s a mystery series that will appeal to fans of 80s films such as Stand By Me and The Goonies or the TV series Stranger Things, where people stumble across strange things in the woods or uncover dark secrets hidden in the abandoned places around a small town.

 

Events, Writing

Four Years of Writing

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4 years. 3 books. 250,000 words. That’s a quarter of a million words! Actually, it’s more than that, but a quarter of a million sounds like a nice healthy number. Do you remember how, as an 11-year-old, you used to groan when the teacher asked for a 200-word essay? 200-words? Pah! I spit in the face of 200 words now!

Those are the numbers behind my Wardens of the Black Heart trilogy. I couldn’t tell you how many hours of my life that represents, but if I had to give a rough estimate, I’d say somewhere between 200 and 250 hours per book. And that’s just the writing, editing and proofreading. There’s plenty more time been spent on social media trying to spread the word and pinging off e-mails requesting – OK begging – bloggers to review my books. Then there’s the formatting, re-formatting, wrestling with Microsoft Word and uploading to the Amazon KDP platform. When all this is factored in, along with the time spent dreaming up the plot and jotting it down in electronic notes at random points, I think I can safely assume that this has been a 1000 hour+ project.

Tomorrow sees the publication of the third and final part of the trilogy: The Well of Tears. Readers (honestly, there are a few) will finally get to see how Lorna and Monkey’s story arc plays out and whether they can hold off the threat of those dastardly wardens.

My story has come a long way from the spark of inspiration that led me to create the character of Monkey, the boy who loves to climb. At that point, I didn’t have much more than his love of climbing to fuel the story, but once I added in Lorna and Charles Gooch and a bunch of mysterious objects, the creative juices began to flow.

Now, like a nervous football manager who, having selected his players and drilled them on his tactics before watching them step out onto the pitch to meet their destiny, I have done just about all I can to make my stories the best they can be. Whilst I will take all the plaudits for the good bits and, just as importantly, shoulder the responsibility of any faults in my work, it would be unfair for me not the share some of the blame, err I mean the credit, with others who have played their part. Yes, it’s time once again for the hundred heroes column.

Naturally, I want to thank everybody who has shown an interest in reading my books and especially those who have bought and read one of them, but there are a few people, or groups of people, who deserve a special mention.

First and foremost of these is my youngest daughter, Rachel. From a young age, we’ve known that she is a mathematical genius, but it would appear that the cogs in her brain are particularly well-suited to editing her Dad’s book. Rachel has spent many hours wading through my first and second drafts, and it is to her enormous credit that my final manuscripts are as error-free as they are.

In addition to reading and giving her opinion on the (almost) final draft, my eldest daughter Lauren has used her artistic talents to help turn my eBook covers (created by OliviaProdesign) into paperback versions (more on that in a later post). I’m also grateful for Lauren’s advice on social media.

My friend Darrin has read all three of my books before publication and provided useful feedback on each occasion. More than anybody, Darrin is a useful barometer of whether the ending of a book is good enough!

I’d like to think various online friends from message boards for their kind comments and encouragement: Craig from AmazonExiles on Goodreads and a whole host of people on The Digital Fix Forums.

Chelle on the Curled up with a good book blog was the first blogger to review my books, and I’ll always be grateful for that. She has since reviewed Black Hearts Rising, and was good enough to host the cover reveal for The Well of Tears. As an indie author, it is hard work getting any publicity for your book, and so we all owe Chelle, and other bloggers like her, a debt of gratitude for giving our books a little foothold in the literary world. Thanks also to the bloggers who recently reviewed Monkey Arkwright – you can see their reviews here.

Now, with the convivial backslapping out of the way, all that’s left for me to say is: go and buy my books. Preferably all of them!

Reviews, Writing

Blog Tour Report – Part 2 – Reviewing the Reviews

Blog Tour Part 2

This is the second part of my Monkey Arkwright blog tour report. In part 1, I analysed the reasons for taking part in a blog tour, how I selected a tour host and what happened before and during the tour. You can read part 1 of my report here.

In this part, I will be taking a look at what the reviewers said about Monkey Arkwright; reviewing the reviews, so to speak.

It may seem an obvious goal, but the two areas where I want my writing to shine is in the execution of the plot and bringing the characters to life. So, it was immensely satisfying for me to see that these two themes cropped up constantly across the reviews. Let’s start the review of reviews by seeing what Jasmine, from Jazzy Book Reviews, said:-

Monkey Arkwright is one of those books where you’re not sure what to expect, but once you start, you find yourself falling down a rabbit hole filled with mystery, intrigue, and some strangely fascinating supernatural elements. I rather enjoyed this book, and I now can’t wait to get my hands on the second book in the series.

That’s a great start. Funnily enough, the analogy of a rabbit hole also cropped up in the review on Trails of Tales:-

The action-adventure in this book has been shaped with the essence of a treasure hunt which makes it more exciting to follow Monkey and Lorna down their rabbit hole.

It seems that Jessica Belmont was equally gripped:-

The mystery is well-developed. I fell right into the story and didn’t want to leave. Rob Campbell is a fantastic writer who is able to suck his readers in and keep them in.

 

It seemed that the plot was good enough to drag the readers in. But so much for the plot, what about the characters? It doesn’t matter how well a story is plotted, if the landscape is populated with two-dimensional cardboard cut-outs, the book is going to fall flat. But it seemed that my characters were doing well in the reviews too. Writing on Jazzy Book Reviews, Jasmine said:-

I also really liked Frank. Even with his past, he was a great guy, and he seemed like he genuinely cared for both Lorna and Monkey. George (aka Goofy) and his gang were just plain awful. I disliked all of them very much.

If I’ve got readers liking the good guys and disliking the bad guys then I must be doing something right as a writer. Meanwhile, when analysing the environment in which Lorna and Monkey find themselves, ReasReads made an interesting observation:-

I say again, I do not trust these adults and it meant that I was doubting everything they told Lorna and Monkey about Gooch (the ‘bad’ guy).

I also enjoyed the fact that Jane Hunt Writer had this to say about my cast:-

The characters in this book are complex and quirky, adding to their appeal.

The work that I put into the emotional side of Lorna’s journey isn’t lost on readers either. Leelynn (SometimesLeelynnReads) said:-

This book was interesting for a YA mystery novel. Nothing to take lightly, since one of the book’s main characters has to learn how to deal with the grief that comes with a parent of dying of cancer .…. But yeah, that part broke my heart from the beginning I will have to say, and stuck with me while I was reading this novel.

 

Reading through the reviews, I also enjoyed seeing some of the reviewers explain why it was that they think that my story worked. ReasReads stated that:-

The reason this story works is because the whole way through the book I was second guessing what was going on and what side were the good/bad guys.

Writing on Cheryl M-M’s Book Blog, Cheryl noted that:-

It’s interesting how Campbell lets the reader wonder and debate the validity of the premise along with the characters. Is it luck or bad luck?

An element that isn’t specifically about the plot or the characters is atmosphere. Whether it’s spooky, creeping with dread, nostalgic or displaying the hallmarks of some specific genre, it’s nice to find that you are conjuring some imagery in the mind of the reader. In this respect, it was pleasing to read the following from Mai on Mai’s Musings:-

There was something about the writing style of this book, and the story itself, that put me in mind of the old black and white film noir genre.

Whilst Cheryl on Cheryl M-M’s Book Blog wrote that:-

It has the strange appealing kind of charm associated with stories of such ilk as Stand by Me, perhaps because it has an aura of nostalgia, especially at the beginning of the book.

 

Returning to the plot, how did the reviewers feel about the way the various plot strands were resolved? Fellow writer Jane Hunt felt that:-

The plot is detailed and fits together nicely, it is layered without appearing convoluted and is resolved well.

Writing on Radzy Writes and Reviews, Radzy said:-

I was gripped, and remained on the edge of my seat until things began wrapping up into a satisfying, well executed ending.

But I didn’t write this as a standalone book, it’s part of a trilogy, so I was pleased to see some comments like the following from Cheryl on Cheryl M-M’s Book Blog:-

I think this has the potential to be a really good series, especially the combination of Monkey and Lorna, their friendship, the secret societies battling against each other to acquire the strange powerful objects.

Jane Hunt seems of a similar mind, describing Monkey Arkwright as:-

An engaging, original mystery with wonderfully individual characters and interesting potential for further stories.

 

Now a short section that is basically an excuse to list some enormously pleasing comments from the various reviewers:-

For a first-person novel, this is effortless, and gives a wonderful sense of realism. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Campbell knows what he’s doing, and has presented us with a story that will be loved by readers of all ages.

Radzy Writes and Reviews

The plot is nicely paced, and there’s enough mystery to keep even the savviest readers guessing as they flip through the pages.

Jazzy Book Reviews

Monkey Arkwright is a fun mystery featuring two quirky characters that had me entertained from beginning to end. I absolutely loved the characters.

Jessica Belmont

 

I’m going to finish off with a comment from Mai on Mai’s Musings:-

Although the book does take a slightly darker turn from around the halfway point ….. it somehow retains a feel of innocence and the old school adventure stories I grew up with. I think as the series progresses it has the potential to develop into something more sinister.

Well, hold that thought Mai, because things do get decidedly darker and more sinister in the second book, Black Hearts Rising.

Thanks once again to all the bloggers who were kind enough to review Monkey Arkwright. There are links to the full reviews on my Reviews tab.

Writing

Blog Tour Report – Part 1

Blog Tour Part 1

The blog tour for the first book in my YA mystery series, Monkey Arkwright, has just ended. The tour was brilliantly organised by Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, and as a lot of indie authors are in a similar position to me – i.e. seeking ways to give their hard work a bit of publicity – I thought that I’d share my thoughts on the experience.

This is part 1 of a two-part report, where I go through the nuts and bolts of what went on before and during the tour. In part 2 of the report, I’ll be analysing what the bloggers said in their reviews.

 

Why I chose to do a blog tour

Like many indie authors, after moderate success with sales of my first book, I’d hit an impasse in terms of reviews and sales. Analysing my sales graph on Amazon is like mapping the topography of the Netherlands. Or in other words – flat as a pancake.

Monkey Arkwright was published in November 2017, and I published the follow-up, Black Hearts Rising, in February 2019. As I’m signed up to Amazon’s KDP programme, I thought that the trick of giving the first book away for free would be a great way of selling the second book. So I paid various sites to promote my giveaway periods, the largest amount being $40 to E-Reader News Today (ENT), and I did indeed manage to shift over 700 units. However, I saw no noticeable uptick in sales of either book after this experiment and decided that whilst free giveaways may work for some, they didn’t for me.

As I approached the release of the final book in the series, it seemed that engaging the services of a blog tour organiser would be the best way to generate some publicity for my book series.

 

Selecting the tour host

I am a member of the Book Connectors Facebook group. If you are an indie author and you are not already a member of this wonderful group, then I suggest you join. There are a lot of supportive authors and bloggers on there, and you get plenty of good tips and opportunities to engage and promote your work.

Reading the daily posts on the Book Connectors group, I noticed that there were a few blog tour sites that regularly cropped up as being recommended by my fellow authors. Rachel’s Random Resources was one of these sites, so that’s who I picked as my host.

 

Selecting my tour

There’s a dazzling array of products on offer, but reading the various descriptions on the site, they generally follow the same pattern. I decided to go for the 7-Day Review Only Tour, which cost me £55.

I sent an e-mail to Rachel and waited for the response.

 

Dealing with Rachel

Whatever else happened on my blog tour, I can honestly say that dealing with Rachel was a breeze. She was always responsive to my e-mails and it didn’t take long to set up the tour.

I was required to send copies of my book (I sent mobi and pdf versions), plus cover art, author photo and various other bits of information that are pretty standard for any publicity exercise.

 

What the tour offered

Once I’d submitted my information, Rachel took over. She created a tour banner and added a dedicated page on her website before inviting potential bloggers to sign up for the tour. You can see my tour page here.

Now came the most nervous part of the experience – the blog tour offered a minimum of 5 bloggers and a maximum of 21 bloggers, but if the minimum quota is not met within 5 days of Rachel’s first e-mail to bloggers, the tour is cancelled and you get a 90% refund.

It’s not that I was bothered about losing £5.50 (the 10%), it was just that if there weren’t 5 bloggers interested in my work when a professional tour organiser offers them a copy for free, what hope is there for selling my book?

The waiting (as Tom Petty once sang) is the hardest part….

 

Before the tour

It turned out that I need not have worried. In fact, the period before the tour was quite exciting. I checked the tour page after a few days and was relieved to see that seven places were already filled. After this point, I began to check the page daily, and it was great to see new additions here and there. It didn’t take long for the tour to fill, at which point Rachel sent an e-mail telling me what would happen next.

At this point, I must confess to my first minor disappointment. The tour that I’d paid for was a “review only” tour, but the e-mail said that out of the 21 bloggers, 12 would be reviewing and 9 would be providing promo spots. It would have been nice if all 21 bloggers were to provide a review, but being philosophical about things, I probably should look at the 9 promo posts as a bonus. After all, the tour could have gone ahead with just 5 reviewers and I’d have still paid the same money.

All things considered, I remained excited for what was to come – the tour was on!

 

During the tour

Promo posts and blogger reviews appeared throughout my 7-day tour. Rachel did her bit by retweeting links to the posts at regular intervals, and it was good to see some of the other members of Book Connectors retweeting and liking the various posts. As previous noted, I’ll cover what the reviewers said in a separate report.

There was a slight lull in the middle of the tour caused by some no-shows. Between days 3 and 5, 4 out of the 9 bloggers did not post. Maybe this is an acceptable loss for tours of this type, but a strong finish with 5 superb reviews over the last 3 days left me feeling pretty good about the whole experience.

 

Conclusion

I was very happy with how the blog tour for Monkey Arkwright turned out. Rachel was an efficient and effective tour host, I got some fantastic reviews and made contact with a few bloggers that may be mutually beneficial in the future. Whilst there was no obvious impact on sales, I do feel like I’ve gained a little of that hard-to-get publicity in what is a very crowded space. If you are an indie author in a similar position to me, I’d recommend giving a blog tour a shot.


Rob Campbell is the author of the Wardens of the Black Heart trilogy (“Monkey Arkwright”, “Black Hearts Rising” and “The Well of Tears”) — a mystery series that will appeal to fans of 80s films such as “Stand By Me” and “The Goonies”, where people stumble across strange things in the woods or uncover dark secrets hidden in the abandoned places around a small town.

Events

The Well of Tears – Announcement

Hello readers! I’m am pleased to announce the release of the final book in my Wardens of the Black Heart trilogy, The Well of Tears, which will be available on 29th January 2020, exclusively on Amazon.

If you missed the cover reveal on Curled up with a good book, you can see what Chelle had to say about it here. Many thanks to Chelle for allowing me to share the cover on her blog.

In the meantime, you can feast your eyes on the cover and read the blurb below.

The Well of Tears - Cover

A tale of cryptic messages, treacherous betrayal and a long-hidden family secret brings a thrilling trilogy to its spellbinding conclusion.

The three talismanic masterpieces created over a century ago by the artist, Abernathy, have caused Lorna and Monkey plenty of problems. But things are looking up for the brave and resourceful teenagers. Having tracked down the painting known as The Truth, they now get to discover what Dylan Fogg is hiding in his cellar. But when Lorna is attacked by an unknown assailant desperate to get his hands on the painting, and with Victoria Halfpenny’s betrayal still fresh in her mind, it becomes clear that simply hanging on to the works of art may be a battle in itself.

Meanwhile, Monkey is battling his own demons. Still in denial over the claims of his estranged uncle, Monkey is about to learn the shocking truth concerning his father – and it may be darker than he feared.

With Charles Gooch out of the picture, the Wardens squabble over their next move. Leader Daniel Turnbull is intent on channelling the power of Abernathy’s masterpieces to plunge the world into a dark and uncertain future. But hidden in the shadows, at least one member of the Wardens’ council doesn’t share his leader’s views and plans a bold move of his own – a move that could jeopardise everything Lorna and Monkey have achieved.

Note that you can click here to pre-order the Kindle version now, but if you are old school and would like a hard copy, just hang fire as there will be a paperback version along before the release date.

The reason for the short delay is that I’m just completing a few minor edits pre-release and naturally, I can’t format the paperback until the final version is locked in.